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INTARCH-INTEREST  November 2001

INTARCH-INTEREST November 2001

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Subject:

Reply to Re: The demise of the freely accessible e-journal (longish)

From:

Jeanne Philipp <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

For announcements and discussion concerning the e-journal Internet Archaeology <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 28 Nov 2001 09:31:59 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (131 lines)

Dear Judith-as a graduate student from a small, private university I would like to thank you for free access over the years. Would a possible solution be one subscription rate for individuals and students and a higher rate for institutions serving a broader base of students. Many of your subscribers are individuals in the field but not associated with an institution. My school cannot afford a
subscription at the moment which means
access to students is at the higher
institutional subscription rate. I am
sure as students graduate, they would
continue to support your journal as individuals, whereas academic budgets are subject to annual fluctuation. Perhaps the lower subscriptions would ensure the continuance of publication as you would pick up additional subscribers. Best of wishes-you have
provided a wonderful resource. Sincerely, Jeanne


On Wed, 28 November 2001, Judith Winters wrote:

>
> Dear Paul
>
> We do appreciate your feedback and appreciate the time you have taken to
> respond to Internet Archaeology's changing circumstances. You raised a
> lot of questions and I have much to say in response. I have tried to
> distil this as much as I can (although it's still rather long, so
> please bear with me!)
>
> Internet Archaeology has never disguised the fact that we would ultimately
> have to charge for access. Since the initial bid to eLib in 1995, and in
> statements and presentations about the journal, we have always said that
> we envisaged income for the journal will come from subscriptions and other
> access charges.
>
> > There
> > is no denying that in the form of an e-journal it is possible to present
> > data in new ways, searchable, hyperlinked, one could put in multimedia
> > presentations and so on. But then, one can do all these things on a normal
> > website. And access to these is free.
>
> But IA is not a 'normal' website, it is a journal which means that we have
> the structures in place to assure authors and readers that content is of a
> certain standard. It means that content is peer-reviewed, checked, edited.
> In addition, a publication in Internet Archaeology guarantees that the
> content will still be there in the future, unlike most web sites. And that
> also means that all content is published with our assurance that we
> undertake to migrate it given changing technologies (at both the delivery
> end and the user end). And, I am of course more than willing to be
> corrected, but the added functionality, especially the delivery of
> interactive datasets that accompany many articles like the recent
> publication in Issue 11, is not something that everyone can just do.
>
> "Things on the web should be free" does not correlate to "things on the
> web don't cost anything". IA has to pay for the time (editorial and
> production implementation), the software and hardware support to publish
> the things we do (which go far beyond the functionality that sticking
> material on a "free" web space could achieve).
>
> But moreover, IA isn't competing with "normal websites" (what are these
> anyway?). IA is competing with academic, peer-reviewed journals - all of
> which will also charge for significant content - on the web or in print.
> And the way the internet economy is moving it is clear that web sites of
> any sort have to be paid for in some way (be they the publicity arm of
> another operation, or simply a paid-for element of another area of
> operations such as a University website). If a site isn't "paid for" (in
> direct income or being written off as part of another operational budget -
> e.g. publicity, outreach etc.) then it will fold, as indeed many sites are
> doing right now - just need to look at some of the "madfor" sites - 4
> million UKP to set up (!) - six months life - no income - kaput.
>
> > Nowhere is it explained though why this information [Peter Bristow
> > article] has to be published in IA and not as a separate website.
>
> But how would this other website be paid for? Who would fund the editorial
> and production time and the support necessary to present that data on the
> web (Bristow's database alone consists of 1700+ sites, some with an A4
> page or more of description, all additionally catalogued and searchable
> according to orientation, location, ritual activity, treatment of the
> body, season of deposition, type of grave goods and even evidence for type
> of death - searching this by 'eye' would be practically impossible in the
> print version, given that what is now a computerised database was in print
> a very long list of sites and codes representing their attributes, spread
> over _800_ pages (in two volumes). All now able to be pulled together in
> a single search according to whatever combination you choose.
>
> Who has the (paid) time to devote to such an exercise? It is the job of a
> serious, peer reviewed (print or electronic) journal to make this
> information available, and in this case, make the data usable. For the
> article in question, it was certainly not a case of sticking what was
> already published on the web in the same form (for indeed, I agree with
> you, what would be the point of that!?). We are following our editorial
> policy to the letter by publishing Peter Bristow's database and article in
> this way - we are using the medium to its maximum potential and providing
> the functionality that could not be achieved in print. However we are also
> developing other kinds of relationships with print publishers in which IA
> provides the delivery of a range of aspects of research that could or
> would never appear in print at all: Martin Millett's article in Issue 9
> and Julian Richards' article in issue 10 are two examples of this sort of
> approach.
>
> > what about the authors who submitted articles to issues 2-10 under the
> > impression that they were contributing to a journal which would be
> > freely accessible...
> > I wonder why (apart from the obvious financial benefits) the decision
> > was taken to change the status of issues that were already in the public
> > domain and not impose the new tariffs from issue 11?
>
> I do wish to make it absolutely clear that Internet Archaeology's authors
> have not been misled in the way this statement implies. As you noted,
> there has been an open policy of consultation with all our readers and
> authors, and in addition, this information about ultimately charging for
> access has always been available from the journal webpages.
>
> The eLib extension grant allowed us to continue free access for longer
> than we had anticipated, but we still will be carrying the costs of
> maintenance for the 50+ articles in the back issues into perpetuity, which
> is the main reason why we chose to charge for these also. But it is also
> why we chose only to make a single one-off charge for them.
>
> As I'm sure you appreciate, the diversity of IA's users makes our meeting
> everyone's particular needs very difficult. Therefore I do think we have
> found the best solution for both our insitutional and individual readers,
> while I still (just) have enough time to be an editor and work on the
> quality content that will ultimately determine whether we get a viable
> number of subscriptions or not!
>
> Regards,
> Judith
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Judith Winters, Editor - Internet Archaeology http://intarch.ac.uk
> Department of Archaeology, University of York,
> King's Manor, YO1 7EP, UK

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